Press Releases

Avoid the 20 Winter Mobilization

Release Date/Time: 12/8/2014 11:20 AM

Incident: Avoid the 20 Winter Mobilization

Report #: N/a

Date: Monday, 12/8/2014

Time: 11:14 AM

Location: Monterey and San Benito Counties

YOU BETTER WATCH OUT, I'M TELLING YOU WHY: COPS ARE CRACKING DOWN ON DRUNK DRIVING Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Salinas CA — This time of year, with all the holiday parties and festive occasions, many partygoers will be drinking. If you're celebrating with alcohol this holiday season, the Salinas Police Department has a message for you: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. Due to the increase in drunk-driving-related fatalities around the holidays each year, law enforcement agencies across the country will be out in force December 12-January 1, 2015 actively searching for drunk drivers. The Avoid the 20 DUI Task Force will be aggressively looking for drunk drivers this holiday season with plans in place for a DUI/Driver's License Checkpoint, a Multi-Agency Strike Team, 44 local roving DUI Saturation Patrols and a DUI Warrant/Probation Sweep. The facts are grim: on average, a third (31%) of all crash fatalities in America involves drunk driving. In December 2012 there were 830 people killed in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher; 26 of those deaths occurred on Christmas Day. But on Christmas day 2012, the percentage jumped to 36 percent. For all of 2012, more than 10,322 people were killed by drunk drivers in America, with 802 of those in California alone. In California, an additional 24,000 were seriously injured. It's one of the primary missions of law enforcement, the California Office of Traffic Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to eliminate these tragedies. As part of the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign period, law enforcement will be increasing their number of patrols, setting up DUI Checkpoints, and using local media to reach all drivers. If you're drinking and driving, the Avoid the 20 DUI Task Force will be out to find and arrest you – no warnings, no excuses. You'll face jail time, fines, loss of your driver's license, towing fees, and other DUI expenses, totaling $10,000 on average. Not to mention the humiliation among your family, friends, and workplace. The only way to truly avoid a DUI is to drive sober. There are many ways to get home safely after drinking, and driving isn't one of them. Designate a sober driver ahead of time, or call a friend or family member. You could also use public transportation, or call a taxi. The cost of cab fare is nothing compared to a $10,000 DUI or the cost of someone's life, and the ‘inconvenience' of not driving your own car home is nothing compared to the inconvenience of spending the holidays behind bars. In addition to reminding all drivers to drive sober, Deputy Chief Terry Gerhardstein is asking all to drive safely during this holiday period and be especially alert to drunk drivers on the roadway. If you see a drunk driver on the road, do not hesitate and dismiss what you are seeing. Report Drunk Drivers - Call 911! - as soon as safely possible. Your decision to report a drunk driver could save someone's life and make the roadways safe for all. The December holiday period usually includes parties and other social functions that involve drinking. We encourage all to enjoy the holiday season with family and friends and in doing so drink responsibly if you desire. If someone you know is about to drive after they have been drinking, please do us all a favor and take their keys and try to get them home safely. We in law enforcement want to work with the community during this holiday season and year-round to reduce and eliminate the senseless act of drunk driving” Some startling data from NHTSA shows that during the holiday season in 2012, 40 percent of the drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes had at least one prior DUI on their record. And many offenders are young drivers: during that same holiday period 37 percent of the 21 to 24-year old drivers in fatal crashes were impaired. Surprisingly, almost 1 out of 6 drivers under the age of 21 in those fatal crashes were also drunk, even though they're too young to legally buy or consume alcohol. The Avoid the 20 DUI Task Force advises Monterey and San Benito County drivers follow these tips to keep the holidays safe and happy: • Under the right conditions, even one drink can impair your judgment and increase the risk of getting arrested for driving drunk—or worse, the risk of having a crash. • If you will be drinking, do not plan on driving. Plan ahead; designate a sober driver before the party begins. • If you have been drinking, do not drive. Call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member, use public transportation. Remember, it is never safe to drink and drive: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. Avoid the 20 DUI Task Force funding is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Office of Traffic Safety is offering a free mobile app – DDVIP – aimed at thanking the sober designated driver with perks and free offers at area bars and restaurants.

Release Authorized by: Gerard Ross

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Deceased Body Found

Release Date/Time: 12/2/2014 4:39 PM

Incident: Deceased Body Found

Report #: 14-111394

Date: Tuesday, 12/2/2014

Time: 12:42 PM

Location: Pocket Park, Harden Pkwy / McKinnon

Jesus Villa-Gomez (59) was reported missing on 11/29/14. Family members found a suicide note and said he was distraught over specific issues. This afternoon, a nephew of Villa-Gomez was searching the pocket park adjacent to El Dorado Park and discovered Villa-Gomez's body in some bushes. It appears that Villa-Gomez took his own life. Salinas Police Detectives and the Monterey County Coroner responded and at this point, foul play is not suspected.

Release Authorized by: Sheldon Bryan

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Salinas Police Department Wins Grant to Buy Body Cameras

Release Date/Time: 12/1/2014 11:00 AM

Incident: Salinas Police Department Wins Grant to Buy Body Cameras

Date: Monday, 12/1/2014

Time: 11:00 AM

Location: Salinas Police Department

Release Authorized by: Spencer Critchley, Acting PIO

Telephone: (831) 998-3000

The Salinas Police Department will be able to go ahead with a longstanding plan to equip its officers with body worn cameras, thanks to a $100,000 grant by the nonprofit Monterey Peninsula Foundation.

The grant was announced by Police Chief Kelly McMillin at a press conference today at the police department.

"We are delighted and grateful to receive this generous gift from the Foundation," said Chief McMillin. "Body worn cameras are a proven tool for supporting accuracy, accountability and transparency. Those are critical priorities for us, for the public and for the all-important relationship between us."

The Foundation's grant will be augmented by more than $49,000 in discretionary funds previously made available by the Bureau of State and Community Corrections under Assembly Bill 109, the public safety realignment measure that allows for the transfer of low-level offenders from state to local incarceration.

The Chief has wanted to buy body cameras for the department since he was appointed to his current role in 2011, but was prevented by the severe budget constraints faced by both the Department and the City.

In June, he applied to the Monterey Peninsula Foundation for grant funding, and the MPF board recently voted to approve the application.

With the grant money in hand, the Police Department will now move forward in choosing from among a variety of systems offered by different manufacturers.

'We're primarily looking for reliability, resolution, security and cost-effectiveness,” said Commander Mike Groves, whose duties include forensic technology. 'We've been testing alternatives for about three months, so we're already well on our way. We expect to take a recommendation to the City Council within the next two to three months.”

Body worn cameras attach to an officer's uniform and record everything he or she does during an interaction with a member of the public. The recording is then transferred to a secure server after the officer's shift. In order to protect both evidence integrity and the public's privacy rights, access to the footage is tightly controlled, and no one is able to access or alter it unnoticed.

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Gang Member w. Firearm / Wanted Subject

Release Date/Time: 11/29/2014 6:47 PM

Incident: Gang Member w. Firearm / Wanted Subject

Report #: 14-111384

Date: Saturday, 11/29/2014

Time: 3:22 PM

Location: Williams / Freedom

Members of the Salinas Police Department's Violence Suppression Unit conducted a traffic stop for vehicle code violations.  Joshua Nunez (27) was arrested for an $80,000 felony warrant.  Robert Gabriel (21) was arrested after officers found a loaded gun in his pocket.  Both Nunez and Gabriel are gang members and they were both lodged in county jail.

Release Authorized by: Sgt. Gray

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Parade of Lights Traffic Advisory

The Parade of Lights event will take place on Sunday, November 30th.  Street closures for the parade will begin at 4:30 pm and the parade will be begin at 6:00 pm.  Streets closures for the parade include:

  • South Main St. between Romie Lane and John St.
  • 100, 200, and 300 blocks of Main St.
  • Salinas Street between West Market Street and San Luis Street

Please use alternate routes to avoid delays.


Suspicious Person Knocking on Doors

Suspicious Person Knocking on Doors

Yesterday a Hispanic male in his late 40's, approx. 6' tall, thin with an acne complexion, wearing a black leather jacket and dark color jeans knocked on a door in the North Salinas area. He called the female resident by name and requested she let him inside. He said he was there to test the water. He did not have any identifying information. He kept telling the female that it would be a quick test. She did not open the door and continued to question him. She felt very uneasy because he knew her name and was really trying to talk her into opening the door. He even told her she was smart not to open her door to a stranger, but said he was fine. She called police and he left before we arrived.

We searched the area but did not find anyone matching that description. While we do not know this persons intentions, it is clear he had no business knocking on this woman's door requesting to be let inside. She trusted her instincts and refused to open her door.

This happens from time to time and is a good reminder to everyone to follow basic safety rules, one being not opening doors to strangers. If you do not have a peep hole in your door, consider getting one and mounting it in a spot where the shortest member of your family can see through. It may require 2 separate peep holes, one higher for adults and one lower for smaller kids. These are cheap, easy to install and available at local hardware stores.

Remember that if you see something suspicious, trust your instincts and call police. We take these calls seriously and will do our best to respond quickly.

Armed Robbery with Shots Fired

Release Date/Time: 11/23/2014 2:02 PM

Incident: Armed Robbery with Shots Fired

Report #: 14-111159

Date: Sunday, 11/23/2014

Time: 12:06 PM

Location: 241 John St - John St Mini Mart

An Hispanic male, approximately 18-years old, wearing a black hoodie and black face mask entered the store and demanded money. The 59-year old clerk did not resist and gave the suspect all the money in the till. The suspect struck the victim in the face with a pistol and fired one round into the screen of the surveillance monitor before fleeing Northbound on Front St. The camera and recorder were not damaged and a large caliber casing was recovered at the scene. Officers were in the area immediately, along with a CHP helicopter, but the suspect was not located. The video security system was taken to the police department for processing.

Release Authorized by: Sheldon Bryan

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Attempted Homicide

Release Date/Time: 11/19/2014 12:43 AM

Incident: Attempted Homicide

Report #: 14-110928

Date: Tuesday, 11/18/2014

Time: 8:09 PM

Location: 20 S. Hebbron Ave.

Officers were dispatched to a report of shots fired with a man down. When they arrived on scene, they found Gabriel Lopez Jr. (18) down on the driveway, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. It was reported that multiple rounds were heard.  There were people in the area at the time of the shooting but none would come forward to provide information.  Lopez was immediately transported to Natividad Medical Center where at the time of this posting is in critical condition.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Detective Zuniga at 758-7929 or Detective Roman at 758-7913.  Information can be left anonymously at 758-7133 or 775-4222. 

Release Authorized by: Sergeant Jeff Gibson

Telephone: (831) 758-7128

Shooting Victim

Release Date/Time: 11/18/2014 10:46 PM

Incident: Shooting Victim

Report #: 14-110925

Date: Tuesday, 11/18/2014

Time: 6:11 PM

Location: 700 block of Kilbreth Avenue

The 27 year old male victim was walking on Kilbreth Avenue, possibly with a second person, when he was confronted by two Hispanic male suspects, 18-20 years of age.  One of the suspects had a semi auto handgun.  The suspect yelled something at the victim and shot multiple rounds at him as he chased him southbound on Kilbreth Avenue.  4 parked vehicles were struck by gunfire.  There was mention that there may have been a second victim but we were unable to locate that person.  The one victim sustained several gunshot wounds but none were life threatening.  The victim was not cooperative.  This shooting is being investigated as gang related. 

Release Authorized by: Commander David Crabill

Telephone: (831) 758-7250

Attempted Murder

Release Date/Time: 11/17/2014 11:50 PM

Incident: Attempted Murder

Date: Monday, 11/17/2014

Time: 6:49 PM

Location: 1600 Block of Atherton Way

Officers responded to a report of a victim of a head wound in the 1600 block of Atherton Wy. Steven Ferguson (45) was in a verbal argument with his 69 year old father, who lives in the home with him. During the argument, Steven pushed his father down and threatened to kill him before striking him in the head with a hatchet, causing a severe, but non-life threatening laceration. The father was able to get up and fled the home to a neighbor, who called police. Initial officers arrived on scene within minutes and were told that Steven was last known to be in the home alone.  A perimeter was set and hailing and attempted calls to Steven begun, but we had no response and it was becoming unknown if he was still in the home or if he had fled prior to our arrival. At approximately 2150 hours, while officers were still at the home, officers on scene with the father at Natividad Medial Center, determined Steven was  in the parking lot, As they attempted contact he was non-cooperative and tried to turn and walk away when he was TASED and taken into custody. He was later boked into Monterey County Jail for attempted murder. 

Release Authorized by: Stan Cooper, Commander

Telephone: (831) 758-7250


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